Haven Review: The Surge

The Surge, now in terms of action rpg’s this game has it made with a chance to upgrade the various battle frame  parts you can get in it, as well as the exo-skeleton itself. However, I got to say this the story for me has been a tedious bore and combat itself feels very unbalanced to the point where it doesn’t even seem fair.

Like the Technomancer its combat Is best suited for one on one, but ends up for the most part being four to five vs one, the one being yourself and it doesn’t necessarily work out very well for you.
However I will point out that as you progress slowly through the game it does get easier getting pieces of equipment and upgrading your equipment to make combat easier but how long and how drawn out It can get makes the game more enjoyable as a means to kill time than a overly enjoyable fun to play title.

I will give the developers points though the very start of the game was very enjoyable and the level design was also very nice. I even found the starting story where you are a handicapped person trying to get his life back on track and also help the world really great, even up to the point where (spoiler alert) you got the exo-skeleton drilled directly into your body while you were conscious and had neither a sedative or anesthesia to put you to sleep.

Now, breaking it down the combat involves a lot of timing and dodging as most action RPG’s would have, keeping a close eye on your stamina meter to make sure you don’t run out of stamina and know also when to strike back at the enemies, like your battle frame parts you can acquire different pieces of equipment as you play through from a simple wrench, or some really amazing hidden weapon in the first stage. Each weapon has its own attack patterns, and attack speed so mastery of this compiled with knowledge of the combat system with dodging ect is crucial.

What could easily start out as a simple one on one fight could easily also turn into a multi-enemy combat situation. Which helps make this a lot more complicated, and the biggest issue is that the enemies don’t scale up properly as you fight. Even if you spend all of one stage grinding out to max out your equipment as high as it can go for that stage. When you start in the next level you will already be under leveled.

I ultimately ended up finding a exploit in the game to help scale me up to get extra life to make progression easier and even that didn’t make gameplay any easier for me. It should be worth mentioning that like a RPG you can get equipment with special properties and with that equipment you can have set bonuses such as increased speed, increased health, durability or removal of stamina restrictions. This can be helpful at times, but it still doesn’t fully aid in the situation you are faced with in combat.

I do however like the upgrading system, as you fight through the game you can lop off a enemies arm or leg, or even behead them for a higher chance of getting a equipment drop from them or a material drop that goes to that part of the body. So getting materials to upgrade your equipment is fairly easy, as is using the base scrap you get.

Now the base scrape you get is used not only in upgrading your weapons, and battle frame parts but also your power core in general. The higher your power core goes up the more passive bonuses you can get from “chips” you get along the way for a deeper level of customizing. Some chips give a passive bonus to increase your help equal to the level of your power core. So powering up your power core can be quite beneficial at times.

Now besides my negative input on the combat for the game, the sound track and the controls for the game are actually quite fluid and I really find those to be quite enjoyable, it is not very often you find a game with controls as fluid as The Surge has, not even the Technomancer had controls that were that well programmed.

Don’t get me wrong, the only real issue I encountered in The Surge was its combat, outside of that I’ve kinda blown quite a few hours just goofing off and exploring. It even gives you the opportunity to learn more of the story through audio tapes and not some wall of text which helps add another level of immersion to the title.

In conclusion, The Surge is a good title, not one of the best but good and definitely not something I would recommend to a child. The game even has a New Game+ feature so you can keep playing making it even harder to advance if you are into that.

-Daniel Clatworthy